Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Slashdot Effect

After 8 months, 66 videos uploaded, and 141,676 views, the BSD Conferences YouTube Channel was slashdotted for the first time last week. Specifically, Theo's OpenBSD Release Engineering talk was linked from this slashdot post. Views of the video spiked to nearly 8,000 a day after the Slashdot post, which dwarfs the previous highs of around 1,500 videos a day after I posted about Kirk McKusick's FreeBSD Kernel Internals lecture.

I think this is an excellent reminder of the power that forums like Slashdot still have in directing traffic among those seeking technical content online. I would encourage anyone interested in seeing more BSD related content online to install browser bookmarklets, toolbars, or other shortcuts to more easily share and promote FreeBSD content on Digg,, Slashdot, etc..

Saturday, July 18, 2009

FreeBSD Code Metrics Now on

I've written previously about and how I'd like to see more of the dynamic code metrics calculated there available on the FreeBSD web site. I am happy to report that today I noticed after several years of attempts, the ohloh repository import servers have finally managed to get through the entire FreeBSD source repository. Their software setup previously had difficulties dealing with a project with as long of a history as FreeBSD.

You can now view the top level code metrics about FreeBSD from the FreeBSD Project Page on This page indicates that there are over 10 million lines of code, that more files are licensed under GPLv2 than any other license.

The committer totals do not quite match up with Peter's Commit Counters. Even after accounting for the fact that Peter's system could potentially double count a commit that touches both sys and non-sys parts of the source tree, the numbers from Ohloh are still lower for some committers. Unlike the numbers on, the FreeBSD project on only contains the source repository. We are currently lacking the anonymous cvs access to our doc repository necessary to add the doc project to

How do the numbers reported on compare to code metrics others have reported for FreeBSD? Does this match expectations or are there any major problems with this data? How can we use this information on our website? Would a badge on the front page showing "Last improvement made X minutes ago" be useful? A list of most active committers in the past week on one of the developer pages? Other ideas for utilizing the work the Ohloh project is doing?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Open Source in Recessions

In general, recessions can be really good for open source. Large businesses look to cut back on IT budgets and this often involves re-evaluating whether proprietary software and maintenance contracts are necessary, given high quality open source alternatives. Companies may dedicate more internal resources to open source projects, and also the surplus of underemployed engineering talent in the market may be available for more open source development work.

Unfortunately, there are also some significant downsides, and one that I would like to highlight is the plight of the small open source shops around the world. We've seen pleas earlier this month to Save BSD Magazine, and in recent years some other smaller open source companies such as Daemonnews, and the Japanese publications FreeBSD Press and BSD Magazine have exited the business. In the current environment I would like to take the unusual step of plugging a company that has been selling, marketing, legally defending, and supporting FreeBSD from the very beginning.

FreeBSD Mall has been selling FreeBSD CDs since 1.0 in 1993 and is still selling and supporting CDs, DVDs, books, branded apparel, and more. The PC-BSD live-dvds make an excellent introduction to FreeBSD for new users and the complete FreeBSD DVD distributions are quite handy to have. Consider spending a few dollars at the FreeBSD Mall site, buy a BSD Magazine subscription, or otherwise spend some money to encourage the small commercial FreeBSD ecosystem and perhaps contribute to more funds being available to exploit the many disruptive opportunities (netbooks, cloud computing, etc..) that could be very good for open source and FreeBSD during this recession.